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Chipata Coat of Arms.jpg
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Location in Zambia
Coordinates: 13°38′43″S32°38′47″E / 13.64528°S 32.64639°E / -13.64528; 32.64639 Coordinates: 13°38′43″S32°38′47″E / 13.64528°S 32.64639°E / -13.64528; 32.64639
Country Flag of Zambia.svg Zambia
Province Eastern Province
District Chipata District
Founded1898;125 years ago (1898)
City status2017
  Type Local Government
   Mayor George Mwanza
59.44 sq mi (153.94 km2)
3,875 ft (1,181 m)
  Density501/sq mi (193.4/km2)
Time zone UTC+2 (CAT)
Area code +260 216
Climate Aw

The city of Chipata is the administrative centre of the Eastern Province of Zambia and Chipata District. It was declared the 5th city of the country, after Lusaka, Ndola, Kitwe and Livingstone, by President Edgar Lungu on 24 February 2017. The city has undergone rapid economic and infrastructure growth in the years, leading up to city status. [1] [2]



Chipata is located approximately 570 kilometres (354 mi) east of Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia. [3] This is about 150 kilometres (93 mi) west of Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi. [4] The geographical coordinates of Chipata are 13°38'43.0"S, 32°38'47.0"E (Latitude:13°38'43.0"S; Longitude:32°38'47.0"E). [5] The average elevation of Chipata is 1,181 metres (3,875 ft), above sea level. [6]


Having a modern market, a central hospital, shopping malls, a university, some colleges and a number of schools, Chipata is the business and administrative hub of the region. The town boasts a four star hotel, a golf course, an airport, and a "welcome arch". Developed areas includes Kalongwezi, Moth, and Little Bombay.

Chipata is the regional head of the Ngoni of Zambia. The Ngoni adopted the languages of the tribes they conquered, so Chewa and Nsenga are the principal languages, although Tumbuka and English are widely spoken, plus some Indian languages, as a large number of Zambian Indians live in the town. It is located near the border with Malawi, and lies on the Great East Road which connects the capitals Lilongwe 150 kilometres (93 mi) to the east, [4] and Lusaka 570 kilometres (354 mi) to the west. [5] It is a popular access point for the South Luangwa National Park.


Chipata's name comes from the Chewa word "Chimpata" meaning "large space", in reference to the town's situation in a shallow valley between hills. The name of the central neighbourhood of Kapata, the original centre of town, comes from the Chewa word meaning "small space."

Chipata was formerly known as Fort Jameson (and informally as "Fort Jimmy"), being named after Sir Leander Starr Jameson, the 19th-century British politician and adventurer. Even during the colonial period, few supported that Jameson, who is mainly known for his part in the infamous Jameson Raid, fully deserved the honour of having any town named after him. Like 'Fort Manning' and 'Fort Rosebery', Fort Jameson was called a "fort" because the local government offices, or "Boma", were once fortified.

Fort Jameson was the capital of the British protectorate of North-Eastern Rhodesia between 1900 and 1911.


The mayor of the city of Chipata is the head of the city government.


With a population of about 455,783 in 2010, [7] the Chipata district is believed to be the 3rd largest district of the country. The city of Chipata had 116.600 inhabitants in 2010. [8] The predominant ethnic groups in the city are the Chewa, Tumbuka, Ngoni and Nsenga. [9]


Saturday Market in Chipata Chipata side street.JPG
Saturday Market in Chipata

Chipata is the primary transport hub for trade between Zambia and Malawi. "Down Shops" is Chipata's bustling down-town area, most shops and other businesses having proprietors of Indian origin. Two notable shops are Kavulamungu Bargain Centre, and Ally & Sons.


The Nc'wala ceremony of the Ngoni people takes place at Mutenguleni on the outskirts of Chipata. The ceremony celebrates the first fruits harvest and is usually held at the end of February. [1]


Chipata has five Hotels and several guest houses and lodges dotted across the city that meets international standards. Some of the notable places of accommodation in Chipata include Protea Hotel a three-star Hotel that has been in the city for over 10 years. Crystal Springs Hotel about 1.5km away from town centre as you go towards Malawi is another Hotel with excellent Conference Halls and Swimming pool facilities. It has been in operation for over 25 years. Nyamfinzi Hotel, Fort Jameson and Luangwa House operated by Hostels Board of Zambia.

Other notable guest Houses and Lodges include;
• Dean's Hillview Lodge
• Eastern Comfort Lodge
• Pineview Guest House
• La Rochelle
• Franklin Gardens
• Jemita Guest House
• Dredel Lodge
• Travel Lodge
• Golf Rest House
• Chiwayu Guest House
• Yanja Lodge
• Mama Rula's campsite
• Kigelia Campsite
• Mwana Chanda Lodge
• Mukels Lodge
• Fort Young's Lodge
• Chikhute Guest House
• Wise Donkey Guest House
• Roadside Guest House
• Sunnyside Lodge
• Katuta Lodge
• Crossroads Lodges
• Gloka Guest House
• Calmrest Lodge
• Mercury one Lodge
• CTV Lodge
• Streamside Guest House
• Chipata Motel
• VNT Motel
• Tilandile Guest House
• Murphy Guest House
• Hom's cottage
• Rombando Executive Lodge
• Chansolo Lodge
• Malent
• Escape view Lodge
• New Horizon view Lodge
• Eastlands Lodge
• Redmont Guest House
• Chatowa Lodge
• Kum'mawa Lodge


Bus and taxi stop shelter on Great East Road A Bus and Taxi Stop Shelter.jpg
Bus and taxi stop shelter on Great East Road

An extension of the Sena railway, connecting the city of Chipata to the territory of Malawi (via Mchinji) was opened in August 2011. [10] Chipata will now act as the Zambian railhead and entry point from Malawi and beyond. In the pipeline since 1982, the short link, about 35 kilometres (22 mi), provides a through-route for rail traffic from Zambia via Malawi to the Indian Ocean deep-water port at Nacala in Mozambique. [11] The route and alignment of the line has been laid out, including the site of Chipata station and the basic station building. [12]

The route will provide an alternative to two existing rail routes to the Indian Ocean, at Dar es Salaam and Beira. In 2015 it was proposed to build a rail link to Serenje, a small town on the TAZARA Railway line. [13]

Intra-city Transportation

Residents in Chipata are serviced mainly by taxis which are mostly Toyota Corolla that transport people from one part of the city to another mostly on short distances. Another common mode of transport is the use of bicycles known as bicycle taxis. These carry passengers at relatively lower fares compared to vehicle taxi. Chipata City is known to the outside world due to its large use of bicycles. The large presence of bicycles can be attributed to the defunct Luangwa bicycle assembly plant that was located in the town back in 1990s. However bicycle taxis are slowly being phased out by motorcycles which have been mushrooming in the city at a very faster rate. Bicycles, motorcycles can take passengers almost anywhere including in places that may not be accessible by vehicles. Not only that, white Minibuses with a green ribbon(colour for Eastern province) around them locally known as "Bongo" have also been used as public transport in Chipata for almost 10 years. Bongos make up a reasonable percentage of the traffic volumes in Chipata. Bongos usually service high density residential areas by ferrying passengers from the city centre to suburbs and back. These are found in very limited streets because they mainly target residential areas with a lot of people such as Mchini, Navutika, Sido, Kapata and Magazine. Other areas are not serviced due to lack of target customers and absence of proper surfaced roads among other reasons. However lack of adherence to traffic rules by bus and taxi operators is a serious concern raised by Chipata residents. This include a large presence of unregistered, not roadworthy vehicles and motorcycles being allowed to operate on the roads and authorities have done little to enforce the law. Incidents of attacks and theft cases of motorcycles have also been reported in the recent past.

Inter District Transportation

Vehicle Taxis and Minibuses also take passengers to remote villages outside Chipata and other towns elsewhere in Eastern province. Transportation to Katete, Sinda, Petauke and Nyimba can be accessed at Lunkhwakwa bus station/near COMESA market. And those that go to Chadiza are based at Mbanyane Station. Transporters who go to Lundazi are found at Old welcome near Kobil Petrol station. And transportation to Mfuwe or South Luangwa is usually found at Kapata Main bus station. Transporters that go to Mwami are found at Umodzi highway front opposite Saturday Market and Gondar Barracks station is at Highway bakers bus stop.


Chipata has four major streams pouring into the Luangwa river. The Luangwa river rises in the Lilonda and Mafinga Hills in north-east Zambia at an elevation of around 1500 meters near the border with Tanzania and Malawi, and flows in a southwesterly direction through a broad valley. [14] The water from the streams and the Luangwa river is used for farming by the inhabitants around the district.

Soil and Vegetation

There are three main soil types namely Acrisols, Fersiallitic soils, and Lithosols. There are four vegetation types, the main one being the Brachystegia (Miombo) woodland and Munga vegetation types.


Climate data for Chipata
Record high °C (°F)32.1
Average high °C (°F)27.2
Daily mean °C (°F)22.1
Average low °C (°F)18.2
Record low °C (°F)13.2
Average precipitation mm (inches)252.7
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)201814700000191988
Average relative humidity (%)80.781.578.872.164.459.855.948.942.745.256.675.463.5
Mean monthly sunshine hours 158.1148.4201.5234.0266.6258.0260.4275.9276.0269.7216.0167.42,732
Source: NOAA [15]

Schools & Colleges

Primary education

Secondary education

Tertiary education


See also

Related Research Articles

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chipata District</span> District in Eastern Province, Zambia

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